So far, the CITES directive has caused manufacturers, dealers and owners a lot of headaches and additional costs. However, things could be about to change. A proposed “CITES II” regulation would exemptions for musical instruments…
New proposals were presented by a working group at the 70th CITES convention held in Sotchi in October 2018. They would exempt musical instruments, their components and accessories both in commercial and non-commercial trade (buying and selling between private individuals). Dubbed CITES II, the new measures will be submitted to CITES officials by the end of 2018. At the end of May 2019, the conference will vote on the proposed changes and if they’re adopted, they will come into force 90 days later.
In the wake of CITES guidelines covering all rosewood species, alternative woods and materials have only just started to become more common. But the pace of adoption has been slow. ESP, Fender and other major companies have started to give up using rosewood. Pau Ferro, for example, is a terrific replacement. Gibson has introduced Richlite to replace ebony, stating that although it’s more expensive it’s a superior material for fretboards.
But guitarists and instrument makers want only what has proven itself over the years. Manufacturers argue that their use of these woods is minuscule compared to other industries.
Hopefully, this new CITES review mean that common sense will prevail. We have all heard horror stories of instruments being unnecessarily impounded, destroyed and confiscated. This could be a way forward.